Now that the flames have been doused, the residents of two fire ravaged apartment/condo buildings must now deal with the aftermath of the tragedy, which will result in life changing experiences.
For some, the future could turn into a nightmare that never seems to end.
Fortunately, there were no reports of casualties, although most of the more than 200 people had only minutes to escape, many with only the clothes on their back.
Apparently one resident managed to flee only wearing one sock.
As fast and furious as the outbreak of the infernos were, the slow and overwhelming task of rebuilding their lives now begins.
Many officials and observers have weighed in with their take on the lessons learned and how similar occurrences can be avoided.
Many stratas have already banned barbecues from balconies because of their high risk.
Residents who do use balcony barbecues should ensure that they are operated safely and are located away from vinyl siding.
Suggestions have already been made to amend bylaws to ban barbecues and instead have the strata provide a communal grilling area.
Equally important is the need for residents to become informed about the need for proper insurance coverage.
Although stratas insure the building in the state it was when the corporation was formed, it does not cover personal property.
Many of the now homeless families and individual driven to the streets by the infernos have lost everything and have no insurance to help pick up the pieces of their lives and start anew.
Homeowner/renter insurance is readily available and costs about the same as a daily latte.
Depending on the policy, the coverage will replace all lost belongings, provide moving and storage for salvageable items and pay for lodgings to name a few.
Some have suggested that stratas should consider adopting bylaws that make it compulsory for residents to purchase their own personal property policies.
Consideration of such an amendment should first be reviewed by a lawyer.
Strata corporations can further protecting themselves by adopting bylaws that indemnify the condo against paying the deductible should a resident’s negligent behaviour lead to a damage claim.
Similarly, insurers are also including an optional clause to cover individual policyholders should they be billed for the strata’s deductible.
If your strata is self-managed, feel free to contact me to discuss this or any other column.